Dead Animals

They’d stopped mowing the lawn two weeks ago, and Mrs. Loretta Arden wanted to know why the final resting place her deceased show dog Schnauzer, Brilliance Feneman Almighty, was being so callously neglected. What she was told, was that the cemetery would be closed on June 6 and eventually be repurposed as a corporate park with a very large water fountain in the middle. This explanation greatly upset the grieving pet owner, but Arthur and Diane Felton couldn’t find much room to care. The two siblings were currently inundated by the duties of dissolving their family’s business of 50 years.

Opened in the spring of 1945, the pet cemetery which had been passed down from their grandfather Irwin Felton was now bankrupt, shuttered, and defunct. The brother and sister found themselves not knowing what to do with themselves, not knowing how they would get by. Fate would have it, that at their cousin’s Fourth of July barbecue, Arthur would learn of a wonderful new website called eBay. On this website you could "sell anything you want and people buy it”, as they were told by “Little” Hank Perdue, a friend of their cousin’s son. 

The idea came to Arthur that night after his seventh can of Pabst Blue Ribbon: If the website allowed you to sell anything, perhaps he could go back to the cemetery, exhume some of the animals and sell their skulls or other interesting bone pieces. Many of the grave sites were not visited and hadn’t been for years. At most, people visited their deceased pets for two years then either forget, move away, or just stop caring. “That certainly fell under the category of anything”, he thought and reassured himself with another can of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

It wasn’t all dogs and cats. The best part was that the cemetery, being close to fifty years old, had interred an interesting array of animals. The twelve acres of Felton & Family companion cemetery held a number of prize winning bulls and horses, as well as a handful of exotic quadrupeds formerly belonging to a circus based out of nearby Stagecoach, TX. 

The next day Arthur went to the public library and discovered that in fact eBay did let you sell anything you wanted. He found rolodexes, broken yo-yos, homemade baby strollers, frozen green beans, and many many other items he was surprised that people would be selling, let alone buying. He decided to make an account. He clicked around in a bout of confusion for close to three hours before deciding to ask a librarian for assistance. Finally, he was able to make himself what he felt was a very creative account name; SkullznThingz5545

It wasn’t for two months that he finally built up the courage visit the cemetery.  It had rained during the day and the night was cool and still. The humidity was relatively low but he sweat like a hog. His key still worked on the gate. When he walked in his fear dissipated. He’d grown up here and spent many nights in his teenage years, hanging out with friends. He drank five PBRs and got to work. He stopped several times during his excavation to wonder if it were worth it and if perhaps he should exercise more regularly. Two hours later he reached the large wooden box of a prize winning steer by the name of Montana, interred in July of 1971. The hole wasn’t wide enough to access the entire casket but Arthur figured if he could just get the skull it would be worth it. He took the spade and struck at the pine casket until it broke open. There lay Montana now, a pile of bones, clumps of fur and some dry dark gray matter. The skull sold for $110.00 on eBay.

Following this initial success Arthur returned three more times to the cemetery and three more times did he auction his skeletal loot. Guilt overtook him and he decided it was time to let his sister in on what he was up to. At first she shook her head and just looked at him. “I feel terrible about it” he said, “but what are we supposed to do, most of those animals haven’t had a visitor in years. People stop caring. They’re just a buncha dead animals that nobody cares about.” They drank eleven Pabst Blue Ribbons between the two of them and then she finally took the money he was offering her; half of his profits. 

The operation continued for the next seven months and earned the pair $9,650.87. Eventually Diane got a job working for a florist and told Arthur she didn’t want to take part anymore. Arthur continued taking in all of the profit without obstacle until finally he arrived one night to find that a lock had been installed on the gate. A notice on the fence stated that construction would begin soon and that all bereaved wishing to exhume their deceased companions should contact the development company. That night he sat outside the cemetery for two hours thinking about what the next step should be. He figured he’d have to find legitimate employment at some point but if he acted quickly, there was still easy money to be made.

Eight and a half Pabst Blue Ribbons later the answer arose like magic; “Little” Hank Perdue and his cousin’s son Mackie. He could put them to work. He’d be able to excavate at maximum efficiency and he’d be doing a good thing by giving the boys work. 

Two nights later he arrived with the boys and gave them a stern talking to: “If one of us gets caught, don’t rat anyone out because nobody likes a rat. Second, do not tell ANYONE about this, this doesn't make you cool, and third no show dogs, there is a special section for show dogs and people still visit them now and again so we can’t touch them.” He brought them in, gave them some beer, and showed them how to dig up the grass like a section of sod so nobody would notice.

The team got to work. The boys were a bit slow. They would get tired easily and were not the most dexterous of fellows. They also dug a good number of guinea pigs and hamsters which Arthur had specifically told them was not worth the effort. For three nights they did this and escaped with a promising load. He paid them the 300 dollars he promised and then drank 6 Pabst Blue Ribbons. 

He got home at around 5:00 am the next morning. He slept until around 11:00 am. The sky was overcast, but the heavy grayness of those hazy Texas days always brought him comfort.  When he finally got out of bed he made his blueberry Eggo waffles and sat at the kitchen table for three hours, looking out the window. It reminded him of the days in early summer when his grandfather would take him out fishing. As he got older he found it harder to remember his grandfather’s face without looking at pictures. He wondered if he drank too much, but he did not wonder this long for his thoughts strayed elsewhere. On that Wednesday he did not drive anywhere, he mostly just sat. He sat inside. He sat outside. He drank ten Pabst Blue Ribbons and went to bed after Jeopardy was over. “Those people are so smart” he thought. He also thought that he wished he could be smart like those people and maybe he could have done something better with his life and then he drifted off to sleep where he dreamed that he was on a giant carousel that rolled on its side like an enormous wheel which took him to the beach where his high school girlfriend Lisa Anne was standing waste deep in sand.

Two months later he awoke to two policemen knocking on his door. They asked if they could come in but he told them there was a lady in there and stepped outside. Their questions were about the cemetery, about several disturbed sites.  He went back inside and made some waffles as he processed what was going on. After pouring syrup on the waffles he let them sit on the counter, uneaten. Placing himself at the computer, he soon discovered an account by the name of BONEzeeB0yz02, which featured, among other show dogs, the remains of Mrs. Lorretta Arden’s award winning canine. There was even a picture of the head stone to prove the animal’s credentials.

Several time’s, he attempted to reach “Little” Hank Perdue on the phone but to no avail. Panic had set in, he deleted his eBay account and that night at Three A.M, drove to Lake Conroe and tossed the remaining bones off the bridge. For the next few days he rarely left the house. He finally received the phone call. Little Hank Perdue and Mackie were in lock up and they wanted to speak with him. 

“Use your money to get us out of here or we’re telling them all about you.” So he did just that, he took the money he had earned from his business venture bought two twelve packs of Pabst Blue Ribbon and then got a lawyer for the two lads. Arthur went to the lawyer they had used for years at the cemetery but he told Arthur this was not his specialization and rejected the case. On the way home Arthur spotted a billboard with a sexy lady on it, advertising for a lawyer by the name of Buell Lickfis. He called the lawyer and said to himself “Ok, everything will be Ok” while drinking fourteen Pabst Blue Ribbons. But the trail was clear and it wasn’t long before Arthur himself was incarcerated. 

Buell Lickfis gave the case his all and as it gained attention in the media, he thought this would be his big break. But people love pets and the judge had four Irish setters of her own so the three men were sent off to prison, where there were no Pabst Blue Ribbons and they all had a really bad time.

 

THE END